Archive for the 'Politics' Category

The Castro brothers and the Mandelbaum boys

Monday, February 25, 2008

The recent news about the 81-year-old Fidel Castro stepping down as the president of Cuba only to be replaced by his 76-year-old brother Raul reminded me of a Seinfeld episode.

Season 8, episode #151: The English Patient. Jerry faces the Mandelbaum boys, who are all comically competitive while being, well, old.

I can almost hear Raul saying, “It’s go time… Oooh! My back!”

(This is the only clip I could find on YouTube… The second half includes scenes from “The Blood” episode in season 9 where Izzy and his son reappear as Jerry’s personal trainer.)

Evangelicals have smaller… you know what

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

There seems to be plenty of critiques of this year’s presidential candidate websites. Here’s something I noticed for myself.

While I was looking for Hillary’s and Obama’s speeches from last week, I observed that Clinton’s site was smaller than Obama’s in width! At where I work, we have been targeting 1024×768 for quite some time. Obama’s site seems to fit that resolution, and Clinton’s, while bigger than the next smaller threshold of 800×600, was considerably smaller — about 100 pixels narrower than Obama’s.

Obama screenshot

Clinton screenshot

The difference of 100 pixels makes Clinton’s site look just a bit more crammed and busy than her rival’s., by comparison, benefits from the extra white space by communicating (at least to me) a sense of confidence.

So it got me curious — I went to the two other remaining candidates’ websites. Black? You really went with black for your background color? Anyway, the screen resolution is even bigger than Barack’s. Guess we know who the real man is!

McCain screenshot

Huckabee screenshot

And here’s the punchline… Mike Huckabee’s site targets 800×600! Over a year ago, it was reported that only 17% of all monitors support up to 800×600. It says something about how mainstream this guy is aspiring to get, huh?

Yummy for Obama, crummy for Huckabee! And if Obama and McCain win nominations for their respective party, you know their websites’ size really mattered.

Obama vs. Clinton in Seattle

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Obama handed Clinton a serious beating in Washington this Saturday. It was a bit surprising — I thought with the support from both WA senators, Clinton would do a little better. But Obama clocked Hillary in every county in Washington. Whoa.

I missed the chance to go see either one of them when they were in town last week. But luckily for me, the web is full of other people’s recordings. I caught a little bit of Hillary’s speech on NPR tonight, but I missed most of it, so I was glad to find hers as well as Obama’s on The Stranger’s Slog.

Here’s Hillary’s.

…And here’s Barack’s.

If I could vote, I’d probably go for Obama — because every time I hear him talk, I almost get shivers from the charisma in his voice. After 8 years of a fucking chimp (with apologies to actual chimps) in the office, I feel like someone like Obama will have such an impact. He will wake up this nation, if enough people listen.

But then again, after I heard some of Clinton’s speech, I couldn’t help but respect her as well. She sure is one smart and courageous woman. I hope they will both continue the good flight (while keeping it clean). And who knows? Maybe a Obama-Clinton (or vice-versa) ticket may not be such a farfetched dream.

Coming soon: another blog post

Monday, January 21, 2008

Yes, you read about it here first, folks. Yummy or Crummy will be adding another blog post here sometime in the very near future. Do hold your breath, and don’t sit back and relax, because before you know it my new blog post will kick you in the teeth and throw you down like your daddy never could, no matter how much he drank.

Guerrilla user research by the Congress

Saturday, May 19, 2007

House Members Eat at Food-Stamp Level for a Week

This segment on NPR‘s All Things Considered last night reminded me of some of what we used to do in college. It’s a common design technique to try to put yourself in your target audience’s shoes, and/or to observe your users in the context in which they use your product. It’s the central idea in the user-centered design principles.

It is a gimmick, but there is a reality to it right now… Nonetheless, this is what I’m eating on for a week, and I have a new appreciation, and in that sense it’s not a gimmick.

It’s nothing new, I just thought it was interesting that politicians are using it, and the mainstream media picking it up. Of course it’s a part publicity stunt, but this congresswoman sounds pretty genuine about her desire to understand the reality of the people she’s serving.

Salon article: Breach of Faith

Monday, October 16, 2006 interviewed David Kuo, the author of a new book that criticizes how the Bush administration used evangelical Christians for political gain.

This guy sounds really sincere. I liked that he restrained himself on couple of “bait” questions from the interviewer — one about Bush’s public persona as a Christian, and another about “wedge” issues such as abortion and gay marriage.

He sounds downright reasonable, and that’s what’s been lacking from both sides of the political world for a really long time. Republican or not, Christian or not, people want to hear from other people who are reasonable. Hooray for him for speaking out and writing the book.

I liked this quote:

They’re doing what they feel like they need to do… But that’s part of what I am talking about; that’s not a really good way to be, that’s not a good way to live.

I agree. What all these guys are doing is just not right, and we shouldn’t accept it as a fact of life. Running a government doesn’t have to be like this. I hope more people will hear about this.

Impeach Bush already

Saturday, August 30, 2003

Moebius Strip Foreign Policy via Tom Tomorrow’s This Modern World

I don’t usually LOVE “This Modern World” — but this one I thought was really brilliant. The layout works perfectly with the theme — I would have loved it even more if Tom Tomorrow could have used actual quotes like he often does.

My “No War” pin has been on my backpack for a while, but I must admit — there were times when I felt a little silly displaying it. The Iraq war seemed to be over quickly and with little casualties. I sometimes felt like people would come up and heckle, “What War? It’s over! Get a new cause!” Or something to the effect. I’m over that feeling now — I have been for at least couple months. I’m convinced that things are getting worse everyday, and the current administration needs to stop trying to divert our attention and spinning everything. We need to pay attention to what they are doing and saying so we can criticize. We need to criticize the media as well so that they don’t let the White House off the hook again. The price of gas goes up 20 cents, and we freak out — I hope we think about why that happens. I hope we keep wondering, even after it comes down 10 cents after Labor Day.

In Rod we trust

Tuesday, May 20, 2003

The other day I went to the post office, and since it was a nice day I decided to take my skateboard. Only when a road construction forced me to take a more secluded street, I realized avoiding bigger streets was a whole lot less stressful. This may be obvious to some, but the smoothness of the pavement is very important to me when I ride my board somewhere, as are bike lanes. Both things are more often found on bigger streets.

Riding on a side street does have its disadvantages. I worry more about the noise that my board makes, because the street is more quiet. I like the convenience of getting somewhere quickly, but I’d hate to disturb somebody along the way. I was wondering about people’s perception of skaters nowadays when I saw a jogger approaching from the other direction. Trying not to seem obnoxious and overly aggressive, I maintained a consistent line of movement at a moderate speed. As two of us got closer I thought, “I wonder if that guy has a lot of people tell him he looks like Rod Blagojevich.” Two seconds later, just when we were about to pass each other, I realized it was the Governor himself.

Rod BlagojevichIn his plain white t-shirt and dark running shorts, he looked skinnier than I remembered him on TV. There were no bodyguards running beside him — there was nobody else on the block, for that matter. It was a sunny day, not terribly hot — but he must have been running for a while, because he looked pretty tired. He took his eyes off the road for a second, and glanced at me. I gave him a quick wave, still standing upright on the board, wondering if this politician-spotting is any more or less gratifying than others I would compare to: athletes, musicians, actors, etc. To my surprise, he immediately waved back. He seemed too tired to care about the skateboard. Or maybe he just doesn’t care anyway. His lack of hesitation for waving back at a slacker-looking Asian in his late 20′s on a skateboard in the middle of a weekday… inexplicably made me like him as a politician.

I decided then that this experience ranks higher than other minor celebrity-encounters in my life. OK, maybe not as high as spotting Jeremy Piven with his girlfriend at SOFA (and yelling, “Cupid!” from where he couldn’t see me), but definitely higher than living next to Jamie Navarro.